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6 Easy Steps to a Simple Practical Business Plan

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6 Easy Steps to a Simple Practical Business Plan

By Tim Berry, Guest Blogger
Published: May 26, 2010

So you wonder whether you want a business plan for your business. You've heard that business plans are about raising money, perhaps, and it sounds like it might be hard to do. You don't have that MBA degree or CPA certification. So thank goodness, you don't need it. What a relief.

Here's my suggestion:

  1. Take some time to think about your business strategy. Think about what's unique about you, what you do best, and what you like to do. Think about what others want you do do. Then think about whom you want to sell to and what types of people. And apply strategic focus; think about what you're not doing. Remember, you can't do everything. Strategy is focus. Write it down, for yourself, as simple bullet points. Do just enough to help you remember. Leave it on your computer.
  2. Promise yourself you're going to have a review every month. Set the day for the review ahead of time.
  3. List your important assumptions.
  4. List important dates and deadlines; what is supposed to happen when. Consider your strategy as the long-term goals and directions, and these are steps to make that happen. Make a list you can manage, short and sweet, of key dates. Make sure you know who is responsible for each deadline.
  5. Do a sales forecast. Break it down into some meaningful units, even if they're like hours or days or trips for a service business, and average price and average cost per unit. Do it for 12 months.
  6. Do an expense budget. Include payroll, and include your own value, even if you're just taking a draw on profits.

    Now that didn't take long, did it? Now you have a business plan. Be true to your promise to yourself and keep the schedule to review planned vs. actual results every month, and then you have a planning process.

    And suddenly, without that much effort, you're managing your business better and controlling your own destiny. And see: it wasn't that hard.

    About the Author:

    Tim Berry
    Tim Berry

    Guest Blogger

    Founder and Chairman of Palo Alto Software and, on twitter as Timberry, blogging at His collected posts are at Stanford MBA. Married 46 years, father of 5. Author of business plan software Business Plan Pro and and books including his latest, 'Lean Business Planning,' 2015, Motivational Press. Contents of that book are available for web browsing free at .


    Yes I'm trying to restart a business store in clothes and Apparels.I 've been trying to search for training course in my area but i've been told that I would have to pay for training are there any School or Agency that offer free training course for starting up a Clothes and apparels business store.
    I want to start a bakery.
    I would like to build my own business
    I would like to start a small events catering company and need help writing a business plan. I plan to go back to school for business management so I can effectively run my business. Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks
    Dont ask for help !! There are tons of GB of data about what you want on the web,, turn that thing inside your head on and search !!
    I'd like to open a small business and need help getting a business plan together. I have an Associates Degree in Business Administration with a minor in Computer Tech Accounting but it's been 20 years since I studied it. Any and all help appreciated.
    I want to start a consignment store, because it requires little start -up cost. I need to know how to write a business plan to submit to qualify possible for a business grant from the gov state or city.
    Jeannie - I am also interested in this type of shop (consignment/resale). How has your experience been so far? Thanks! Dawn
    Helpful with advice like this. University now not important, important is their ability
    Hello, I am trying to do a business plan for a start up Assisted Living Care that only holds 5 to 6 residents. This plan is a project for school. Does anyone have any ideas? I need to get started and it is due soon. Since it is a start up, I am trying to look at small businesses such as the ones done at owner's home to get ideas. It seems overwhelming.


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